UPDATED Feb. 22, 2013: Maple sugaring is a favorite family activity during February and March in Southeast New York and Connecticut. Here is a list of farms and nature preserves in the area, including Orange County, Putnam County, Rockland County, and Westchester County, where you can tap trees for sap, learn about the maple sugaring process, and sample fresh maple syrup at a pancake breakfast or brunch.
Great Brook Sugar House at Sullivan Farm
140 Park Lane Road, New Milford, CT
Maple Sugaring at Sullivan Farm: March 2-3 and 9-10, 10am-2:30pmCelebrate the natural and cultural history of making maple syrup. Everyone tries the bit brace drill, witnesses some maple sap flowing, and gets to sample the syrup. Reserve your spot by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. $5 per person; $20 maximum per family.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center
39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT
Maple Sugar Festival Weekend: March 2-3, 11am-3pm. Learn how maple sap from trees is turned into syrup, sample the syrup, and purchase a bottle to take home. Family activities include maple-themed crafts, a scavenger hunt, face painting, tree-tapping demonstrations, a maple cook-off on Saturday, and the popular pancake brunch on Sunday. $10; free for children younger than 3; $5 additional for brunch on Sunday.
11 John Read Road, West Redding, CT
Maple Sugaring Open House Demonstration: March 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17, 12-5pm. Watch the process of collecting sap and turning it into maple syrup and sugar candies (both of which will be available for purchase). FREE!
Wilton Ambler Farm
257 Hurlbutt St., Wilton, CT
Maple Syrup Open House: March 2 and 10, 12-1pm. Families can tap a tree, take part in a maple syrup taste test and learn about the Native American, colonial, and modern techniques of making syrup. Then everyone can taste Ambler Farm’s own maple syrup over vanilla ice cream. FREE!
SOUTHEAST NEW YORK
Orange County, NY
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
Outdoor Discovery Center, Muser Drive, Cornwall
Maple Sugar Tours: Saturdays and Sundays, March 2-24, 10:30am-3pm. Take a 45-minute Maple Sugar Tour through the forest, with stops at points of interest to learn about the process of maple sugaring. Visitors can also enjoy nature crafts and take home maple sugar recipes. Tours start every half hour. $12; $6 children.
Putnam County, NY
Clearpool Campus, 33 Clearpool Road, Carmel
Maple Sugaring & Annual Pancake Breakfast: March 16, 10am-2pm. Visit the sugarhouse for a tour and live demonstration of the sugaring process, then sit down to a hearty breakfast of pancakes with Clearpool’s own maple syrup. Families can enjoy crafts and outdoor activities including campfire cooking and interpretive hikes. To register, call or email email@example.com. $5 per person or $15 per family (up to six people).
Rockland County, NY
The Nature Place Day Camp
285 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge
Maple Sugaring: March 2, 11am. Families are invited to tap maple trees, boil sap over a fire, and sample some fresh maple syrup. FREE!
Nearby in Bergen County, NJ
Tenafly Nature Center
313 Hudson Ave., Tenafly
Maple Sugaring: Learn how to identify a maple tree, explore the history and process of making syrup, then check tapped trees around the nature center and boil down sap to make fresh, warm maple syrup. Feb. 24 and March 3, 10, and 17. 12:30pm and 2pm. $10; free for children 2 and younger.
Westchester County, NY
Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Road (off Central Avenue), Scarsdale
Maple Sugaring Party: March 10, 11am-3pm. Celebrate the end of winter and the peak of maple-sugaring season as you view depictions of Native American- and Colonial-style sugaring sites and enjoy candy and ice-cream making. $10 in advance (by March 9); $12 per person at the door.
Route 100, Somers
Maple Sugaring: March 3 and 10, 11am-2:30pm. Spend some time in the sugarhouse learning about the history of maple syrup and how it’s made. Weather permitting. FREE!
Sugaring Off Pancake Breakfast: March 16-17, 10am-2pm. Join the farm staff and the New York Maple Sugar Association as they celebrate the end of the sugaring season with a party. Enjoy pancakes with pure New York State maple syrup. $8; $4 children ages 2-11. Reservations are not necessary.
Rye Nature Center
873 Boston Post Road, Rye
Sugaring: Feb. 16 and 23, 1pm. Tap the sap the old-fashioned way. Learn how maple trees produce sap and get a peek at the sugaring process in the Rye Nature Center's own sugar shed. Reservations required. $5.
Teatown Lake Reservation
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining
Sugaring Sundays: March 3 and 10 at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. From tapping to collecting, boiling to bottling, Teatown’s naturalists will be in Warren’s sugarhouse sharing facts and folklore about this sweet time of year. $5; registration required.
Pancake Brunch: March 16; seatings at 8:30am, 9:45am, 11am, and 12:15pm. Start your day off with stacks of hotcakes smothered in maple syrup, plus hot coffee, sausages, and more. Visit the sugarhouse to watch a demonstration of how the “liquid gold” is produced. $12; $7 ages 12 and younger; registration required. Following your brunch, enjoy a walk around Teatown Lake to digest the pancakes and look for spring migrants (FREE).
Rent-A-Bucket: Love maple syrup? Buy a bucket of your own. Marked with your name, it will hang from one of the trees being tapped. After it's filled, the sap gets turned into syrup in the sugarhouse. $45 (includes two tickets to the Pancake Brunch on March 16, and an 8-ounce bottle of Teatown's award-winning grade-A pure maple syrup). Call to purchase a bucket.
Ward Pound Ridge
The Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
Sugarhouse Chat: March 2, 12-2pm. Stop by the sugarhouse anytime for an informal chat with the museum staff as they turn sap into syrup. FREE!
Sugaring-Off Party: March 16, 1pm. Celebrate the end of another sugaring season with tasting, toasting, music, and more. Learn about the maple sugaring process and how sap becomes syrup, take a look at an evaporator, and taste foods made with maple syrup. FREE!
(NOTE: Programs are free, but parking is $10 without a Westchester County Park Pass, $5 with a Pass)
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
Adopt a Sugar Maple: Adopt a sugar maple at Westmoreland and learn first-hand how to produce delicious syrup from maple sap. Families, groups, and individuals are welcome to adopt one of Westmoreland’s sugar maple trees for the sugaring season. Participants should plan to attend a series of programs on Feb. 3, March 3, and March 9 or 10. Each family will receive free admission (4 people max) to SugarFest 2013 (see below), and one bottle of maple syrup produced from Westmoreland’s maple trees Members: $60; Non-members: Become a member to participate (family membership or higher). Availability is limited; limit one tree per family. Call or email to register.
Tapping the Sugarbush: Feb. 3 at 10:30am, 12:30am, and 2:30pm. Families who have adopted a sugar maple should attend one of the day’s sessions to pick their tree and learn how the sugaring process begins. Tips for selecting the proper tree and hands-on instruction for tapping will be the focus of the visit. Each family will select and tap their adopted tree with the equipment provided.
Sap to Syrup: March 3, 1pm. Families who have adopted a sugar maple will learn to turn maple sap into maple syrup with an in-depth look at the collection and cooking process. This will also be a great chance for families to visit “their” tree to check in on how much sap the tree has produced to date.
SugarFest 2013: March 9-10; 9-10am or 11am-12pm. An all-you-can-eat homemade pancake feast served with 100 percent New York maple syrup. Call to register by March 7. $10; $4 children ages 4-10; free for children 3 and younger.
Maple Sugaring Through the Ages: March 9-10, 10am and 12pm. Take a look at the evolution of making maple syrup, from the harvesting and processing techniques used by the Native Americans and early colonists through present day. Learn how to tap a tree and take a taste test to see if you can tell the difference between 100 percent maple syrup and imitation syrup. FREE!
Search for more fun family activities in the NYC area in our full calendar of events!